19 Sep 2011

Conjoined twins successfully separated

Twins who were born joined at the head have been successfully separated by a team of British doctors. Their parents say they are “very grateful” to be going home with “two separate and healthy girls”.

Eleven-month-old twins Rital and Ritag Gaboura were successfully separated on 15 August after four operations at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Doctors say the sisters, who were born in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, overcame incredible odds to survive the surgery.

The head of the craniofacial team at Great Ormond Street Hospital, David Dunaway, said only one in 10 million survives the rare condition of craniopagus.

“The incidences of surviving twins with this condition are extremely rare,” Dr Dunaway said.

“The task presented innumerable challenges and we were all very aware of our responsibilities to the family and these two little girls.

“The Gaboura family have been extremely brave throughout a very stressful journey. and their love for their children is clear to see.”

Four risky operations

Their parents, Abdelmajeed Gaboura, 31, and mother, Enas, 27, who are both doctors, approached children’s charity Facing the World, who agreed to fund and organise their operations.

The incidences of surviving twins with this condition are extremely rare. Dr David Dunaway, Great Ormond Street Hospital

The twin girls were flown to the UK in April for the series of operations, including two in May, one in July and the final separation in August.

Tissue expanders were inserted in the second stage of surgery in July, which helped to stretch the skin over the girls’ newly exposed heads.

The surgery was necessary for the girls’ survival, but operating is extremely dangerous due to the risks of neurological damage.

Ritag’s heart had started to fail in April due to extremely high blood pressure caused by the shared blood flow between her and Rital’s brains.

Eleven-month-old conjoined twins have been successfully separated.

‘Two separate and healthy girls’

The girls’ parents said they were “very thankful”l to the doctors who had donated their services.

We are looking forward to going home with two separate, healthy girls. Parents Abdelmajeed and Enas Gaboura

“We are looking forward to going home with two separate, healthy girls.

“We are very grateful to all the doctors who volunteered their time and to Facing the World for organising all the logistics and for paying for the surgery.

“We feel very lucky that our girls have been able to have the surgery that they needed, but we also know of other children who need complete sponsorship and families who are searching for someone to help them.”